GRS Notifications

This week we issued AC Memo 9.2015 reminding agencies about the need to notify NARA if they are going to be using their own authorities instead of the General Records Schedule (GRS). The communication extended the January 16, 2015, deadline in AC Memo 03.2015 to submit notifications to March 1, 2015.

There are consequences to not submitting a notification or requesting a further extension:

• Consequences to permanent authorities. If an agency has not submitted a notification or requested an extension and has a permanent disposition authority for records now scheduled as temporary by the GRS, it will either have to use the GRS or submit a new schedule. This includes big bucket items. Where this is going to come into play with the most recent transmittal is for grant case files, because the GRS now makes them temporary. Quite a few agencies have scheduled them as permanent.

• Consequences for big bucket schedules. It also could seriously affect agencies with big bucket schedules, although with temporary records it will only affect transfers to the FRCs. If they do not inform us they intend to use their big bucket items that incorporate GRS items they may find themselves having to resubmit schedules, which means unnecessary work for them and NARA, plus the expense of recoding Records Management Applications.

Additionally, NARA will be reviewing notifications and may choose to withdraw agency authorities if we find that the GRS should be applied instead of the agency’s authority. The review process may take up to 90 days or more for requests involving a difference in disposition (permanent vs. temporary). It should take less time for requests involving changes in retention period and requests to use temporary big bucket items. During the notification review period, accessions to the National Archives under the affected disposition authorities will not be processed.

Please contact to submit notifications, ask for an extension, or if you have any questions.

Posted in GRS | Tagged ,

Release of 2013 SAO Annual Report

We are pleased to announce we have completed a review of the 2013 SAO (Senior Agency Official for Records Management) Annual Reports. The results have been issued in an Executive Report available here (.pdf). The Managing Government Records Directive  issued in August 2012, requires all agencies to submit to NARA an annual report outlining their progress toward implementing the provisions of that guidance.

Chief Records Officer for the U.S. Government, Paul Wester, said “The Directive called for the establishment of an SAO for Records Management which was an important recognition that records and information management needs top management support to be successful. This inaugural report is an important baseline for Federal records management programs and will be a useful tool for agencies to learn from each other.”

Our office received 107 reports. Generally the reports revealed that agencies are:

  • Working toward managing all email in electronic format by the end of 2016,
  • Interested in the use of the Capstone approach for managing email,
  • Beginning to explore and develop ways to manage permanent electronic records in electronic format by the end of 2019,
  • Deploying cloud services for their email, administrative functions, and some mission-related activities,
  • Concerned about their budgets,
  • Also concerned about other challenges including information technology issues, staffing, training, lack of standards, and conflicting priorities
  • Requesting assistance from NARA including additional technical and policy guidance, site visits/consulting, and training.

If you have any questions about the SAO Annual Report process, please leave a comment or contact Lisa Haralampus, NARA Records Management Policy Team, at

Posted in Presidential Memorandum | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Tobacco Litigation Freeze Lifted

Earlier today, the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a memorandum to general counsels at all federal agencies. This memorandum lifts the litigation hold imposed in United States v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., Civil No. 99-CV-02496 (GK) (D.D.C.).

Because of this issue’s significance to the federal records management community, we are revising the agenda for next Wednesday’s Bi-monthly Records and Information Discussion Group (BRIDG) meeting. At this meeting, senior NARA officials and Allison Stanton, DOJ’s Director of E-Discovery, FOIA, and Records in the Civil Division, will discuss the records management implications of this memorandum.

In addition, David Weinberg, the Director of the Federal Records Centers Program (FRCP), will outline the next steps in lifting the tobacco litigation (TIL) freeze on records stored and serviced for customer agencies in the FRCP. David Weinberg said, “This is very significant moment for NARA, our customers, and the American taxpayers. Over the next few weeks, we will be developing a plan to move forward with all appropriate disposition actions.”

On Monday, we will be sending out the new agenda and reconfirming the logistics for the BRIDG meeting.

Posted in FRCP, General | Tagged , | 5 Comments

H.R. 1233 Signed by President Obama

On November 26, 2014, President Barack Obama signed into law H.R. 1233, The Presidential and Federal Records Act Amendments of 2014. This law modernizes records management by focusing more directly on electronic records and complements our efforts to implement the President’s 2011 Memorandum on Managing Government Records. The law also represents the first significant changes to the Federal Records Act of 1950. The major points of this legislation are as follows:

  • Strengthening the Federal Records Act by expanding the definition of Federal records to clearly include electronic records.
  • Confirming that Federal electronic records will be transferred to the National Archives in electronic form.
  • Granting the Archivist of the United States final determination as to what constitutes a Federal record.
  • Authorizing the early transfer of permanent electronic Federal and Presidential records to the National Archives, while legal custody remains with the agency or the President.
  • Clarifying the responsibilities of Federal government officials when using non-government email systems.

Passage and enactment of this law marks a significant moment in the history of Federal Records Management. We are in the process of reviewing our existing regulations in light of these new provisions and will have much more to say about changes to our regulations and policies in the future.

For additional information, please see the press release that was issued yesterday. Stay tuned to the blog for further updates. Do not hesitate to leave a comment if you have a question and we will do our best to respond.

Posted in General, Presidential Memorandum | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Upcoming ERA Boot Camp

We will host an Electronic Records Archives (ERA) Boot Camp January 14, 2015 at Archives 1. The ERA Boot Camp will consist of a morning and an afternoon session:

  • In the morning session, 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM, participants will learn how to complete ERA records scheduling tasks.
  • In the afternoon session, 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM, participants will learn how to use ERA for permanent records transfer tasks.

The ERA Boot Camp will be presented by NARA staff experienced in the use of ERA for scheduling and transfer tasks. NARA staff will be available after the training sessions to answer agency-specific questions.

The ERA Boot Camp will be held at Archives I, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. The ERA Boot Camp is offered to federal agencies at no charge. Participants must complete the ERA online training and have an active ERA user account before enrolling in the boot camp. Agencies may enroll in either session or both through NARA’s Learning Management System (LMS).

Additional questions may be sent to

Posted in ERA | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Release of 2013 RMSA

We are pleased to announce that the 2013 Records Management-Self Assessment (RMSA) report is now available here.  Chief Records Officer for the U.S. Government Paul Wester said, “This is our fifth RMSA and we are very pleased to see real progress being made by agencies. We expect this improvement to continue, especially as agencies continue to work towards achieving the goals in the Managing Government Records Directive.”

Positive trends from this year’s report include:

  • This year, 52% of agencies made improvements to their records management programs and increased their RMSA score. This is the first time the number of agencies in low risk exceeds the number in the high risk.
  • Agency records management staff have increased the frequency of routine RM evaluations, inspections, and audits.
  • Many agency records management staff are participating in the design and development of electronic systems and are working collaboratively with other units on issues related to electronic records.
  • RMSA findings and recommendations are consistent with the goals and requirements of the Managing Government Records Directive (OMB M-12-18). We believe that improvement will continue as the requirements of the Directive are implemented and as NARA’s records management oversight activities continue.

We use the RMSA to determine whether Federal agencies are compliant with statutory and regulatory records management requirements, identify positive and negative trends, and areas where further guidance may be necessary. Federal agencies use the RMSA to identify strong and weak areas of their records management programs and the impact of changes they have made since the previous assessment. As a whole, the data can be used to improve records management practices within the Federal Government.

If you have any questions regarding the RMSA please feel free to leave a comment here or send an email to Casey Coleman, the RMSA project lead, at

Posted in General | Tagged ,

RMSA 2014 is Here!

RMSA 2014 is here!

Yesterday we opened the Record Management Self-Assessment (RMSA) reporting period, which runs from October 15 to December 15, 2014.

If you are an Agency Record Officer or are responsible for responding to the 2014 RMSA, you should have received an email containing the link to access the questionnaire. Please remember that for security reasons, this link cannot be forwarded to other individuals, so it is imperative that we have the correct point-of-contact information for your agency. If you did not receive this link and think you should have or if you received the link and are no longer responsible for completing the RMSA, email rmselfassessment@nara.govimmediately!

You will have until 11:59 p.m. EST Monday, December 15, 2014, to complete the self-assessment. We will be unable to accept submissions via the online system after this date.

Here are a few things to help you get started:

  • MS Word and fill-able PDF versions of the 2014 RMSA that can be used while gathering information and compiling the official response. Please do not return either of these forms to us. Your agency’s official response must be entered into the survey tool using the link described above.
  • We are using a new survey tool this year. This tip sheet will help you navigate.
  • If your agency has identified unscheduled records that were not included on the inventory sent in 2013, you should complete this spreadsheet and send it to

If you have any questions regarding the RMSA, please contact or

Posted in General | Tagged

Customer Satisfaction Survey

We hear you!

Every two years, we survey our Federal agency customers to get feedback on satisfaction with core areas of NARA’s records management program. This year, the focus of the survey was on appraisal and scheduling services and records management training. The good news is that the overall satisfaction rate of 89% represents the highest score ever for the survey, which began back in 2004.

We want to thank everyone who took the time to complete the survey and especially those who submitted detailed comments that we can use to make improvements to the services we provide the Federal RM community.

You can download the full 2014 Survey Report as a .pdf here.

Posted in General | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Annual RM Reporting Period

The annual records management reporting period will soon be open. This year’s reporting period will be from October 15, 2014 to December 15, 2014. Agencies will be receiving additional communications with full details and instructions from our office.

This year, we will ask agencies to report on the following:

1. Senior Agency Official (SAO) annual report: This report measures progress towards the goals or requirements in the Managing Government Records Directive. Agencies will receive instructions and the template for the report prior to the beginning of the reporting period. SAOs are listed here. If agencies need to designate an SAO or make changes to this list, they may send a notification to We will prepare a comprehensive report later in FY 2015 to summarize results.

2. Records Management Self Assessment (RMSA): The survey tool information for the RMSA will be sent to Agency Records Officers prior to the beginning of the reporting period. We will send agencies an individualized report of their results after we analyze the data. We will also prepare and publish a comprehensive report later in FY 2015. Questions about the RMSA may be sent to

Posted in Presidential Memorandum | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Release of NARA Bulletin 2014-05: Guidance on NARA-Created Transfer Requests

We have issued NARA Bulletin 2014-05, NARA-Created Transfer Records to agencies this afternoon.

This Bulletin establishes a time period for agencies to take action on NARA-created Transfer Requests (TR) in the Electronic Records Archives (ERA). NARA typically creates TRs for permanent records located in Federal Records Centers and are eligible for legal transfer as a convenience for agencies. These TRs then have to be proposed by the agencies for action. 

Under this Bulletin, all NARA-created TRs will expire 15 months after creation in ERA if the agency has not taken action. Additionally, all NARA-created Standard Forms 258, Agreement to Transfer Records to the National Archives of the United States (SFs 258), which have not yet been submitted to NARA will expire two months after the issuance of this Bulletin. The purpose for establishing an expiration date for NARA-created ERA TR is to ensure that they contain the most current information about the records.

Posted in ERA | Tagged , ,